2021 Monaco Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Game on for the championship!
EVENT: Well, the yachts were there, so that must mean this was an event.
TRACK: Half an inch. And you're done. Like Leclerc.
QUALIFYING: What should have been a surprise celebration by Ferrari, and the hometown hero, turns into a wrecked car and eventual DNS, Verstappen is denied his fast lap, Hamilton looked uncomfortable, Gasly shines, Ricciardo is disappointed, and Alonso fails.
RACE: We've always said Monaco is not about the racing but the precision driving and sheer skill of the drivers. However, this time it did turn out to be a spread out drama free procession.
START: Verstappen aggressively blocks a better starting Bottas, Ocon and Giovinazzi fight it out, no street course mayhem, and Leclerc watches it all from the pit wall.
VERSTAPPEN: Max now leads the championship for the first time in his career. For the first time for any Dutch driver.
PEREZ: A strong race after poor qualifying gave his team the points necessary to take the constructor's lead.
RED BULL: Bendy wings didn't matter this time. It was the chassis which was perfectly suited for Monaco.
SAINZ: Carlos continues to argue the case he is just as good as Leclerc.
LECLERC: This year's poster boy on how Monaco can be so rewarding and so cruel at the same time.
FERRARI: Check all the parts. All. The. Parts.
NORRIS: Yet again, another fabulous performance by Lando.
RICCIARDO: Lapped by your own teammate. That's got to sting.
MCLAREN: Ferrari is going to argue otherwise, but McLaren is out to prove they are the third best on the grid.
VETTEL: The Sebastian of old. And he keeps his perfect record of a top five position whenever he finishes at Monaco.
HAMILTON: Sure gets frustrated when things don't go his way.
BOTTAS: Zip. Zip. Zip. Step out of the car.
MERCEDES: Even the best have a bad weekend. Poor setups. Poor tire warming. Poor strategy. Disastrous pit stop.
OCON: Broken record time again -- nice performance by Esteban...
ALONSO: ...but not by Fernando.
GIOVINAZZI: Antonio has been quietly impressive this season. And he knocked it out of the park this weekend with his Q3 appearance and a points finish ... all in an Alfa Romeo.
TSUNODA: After an outstanding F1 debut at Bahrain, Yuki has been nothing more than a typical unimpressive rookie.
SCHUMACHER: With all the talk about his Russian teammate, it was Mick who smacked the wall not once but twice, preventing him from making qualifying. While his teammate kept it clean all weekend.
MOSLEY: Controversy and Max Mosley have been intertwined since the day he was born till the day he died. And probably beyond. No sense in rehashing it here. One thing is for sure. Mosley left an indelible mark on Formula 1. Good and bad.
FIA: We have said this for what appears to be eternity. F1 needs to adapt the Indy car road course qualifying rule -- if you create a yellow or red flag, you lose your fastest lap.
F2: With the new format for the junior series, there is way too much reverse grid shenanigans -- especially at Monaco -- to get a proper picture of where the up and coming talent is. For that, you need to only look at the feature race. Which was won by Frenchman Theo Pourchaire, at the tender age of 17.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Driveshaft.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- The number of times native Charles Leclerc has finished a race in Monaco in any category.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Charles Leclerc was the first Monegasque to win pole at Monaco since Louis Chiron in 1936. Chiron did it in a Mercedes-Benz W25K. However, rain and oil caused numerous crashes in the chicane after the tunnel on the second lap, which included Chiron. Rudolf Caracciola, from the same team, won. Chiron did win Monaco once in 1931 in a Bugatti T51 after starting 11th.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, said before the team started checking out the qualifying damage on Leclerc's car, "We will not gamble. Reliability is key and reliability will remain the priority, so if we have any doubts we will certainly change and fix." Probably should have had more doubts...
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Valtteri Bottas went through the thought process as he sat in the pits waiting for his right front wheel to come off, "Sitting in the car at the pit stop, I knew it was a slow one and I was calculating Sainz getting past, then Norris, and when it got to 30 seconds, I couldn’t believe it."
SCHEDULE: Two street races in a row. But Baku is a lot faster than Monaco. A lot faster.
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